Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Yojana (PK3Y)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ZBNF

Mains level : Promotion of Organic Farming

Women farmers in the hill State of Himachal Pradesh are gradually turning to non-chemical, low cost “natural farming”, under the Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Yojana (PK3Y).

Prakritik Kheti Khushhal Yojana

  • Launched in 2018, the State’s PK3Y is promoting the climate resilient Subhash Palekar Natural Farming (SPNF), also called ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming’.
  • Over 1.5 lakh farmers have been trained in natural farming in the State so far, with substantial numbers of women participants.

About Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)?

  • ZBNF is a set of farming methods, and also a grassroots peasant movement, which has spread to various states in India.
  • Subhash Palekar perfected it during the 1990s at his farm in Amravati district in Maharashtra’s drought-prone Vidarbha region.
  • According to the “zero budget” concept, farmers won’t have to spend any money on fertilisers and other agricultural inputs.
  • Over 98% of the nutrients that crops require — carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water, solar energy — are already present in nature.
  • The remaining 1.5-2% are taken from the soil, after microorganisms convert them from “non-

Four Wheels of ZBNF

The “four wheels” of ZBNF are ‘Jiwamrita’, ‘Bijamrita’, ‘Mulching’ and ‘Waaphasa’.

  • Jiwamrita is a fermented mixture of cow dung and urine (of desi breeds), jaggery, pulses flour, water and soil from the farm bund.
  • This isn’t a fertiliser, but just a source of some 500 crore micro-organisms that can convert all the necessary “non-available” nutrients into “available” form.
  • Bijamrita is a mix of desi cow dung and urine, water, bund soil and lime that is used as a seed treatment solution prior to sowing.
  • Mulching, or covering the plants with a layer of dried straw or fallen leaves, is meant to conserve soil moisture and keep the temperature around the roots at 25-32 degrees Celsius, which allows the microorganisms to do their job.
  • Waaphasa, or providing water to maintain the required moisture-air balance, also achieves the same objective.

Astra’s of ZBNF against pest attacks

  • ZBNF advocates the use of special ‘Agniastra’, ‘Bramhastra’ and ‘Neemastra’ concoctions.
  • They are based on cow urine and dung, plus pulp from leaves of neem, white datura, papaya, guava and pomegranates — for controlling pest and disease attacks.

Is it organic farming?

  • ZBNF uses farmyard manure or vermicompost.

However, not all farmers are convinced about ZBNF. Why?

  • Cost of labour: The cost of labour for collection of dung and urine, apart from the other inputs used in preparation of Jiwamrita, Neemastra or Bramhastra is quit higher.
  • Bovine cost: Keeping cows is also a cost that has to be accounted for. Farmers cannot afford to keep desi cows that yield very little milk.
  • Vulnerability to pest attacks:  ZBNF is scarcely practiced.  The crop grown would be vulnerable to attacks by insects and pests have already become pest-immune.

 

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Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

What is Biochar?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Biochar and its application

Mains level : Use as organic farming option

A new research has shown that Biochar application is more effective in promoting pulses growth and yield in Ghana.

Try this PYQ:

 

Q.In the context of which one of the following are the terms ‘pyrolysis and plasma gasification’ mentioned? (CSP 2019)

(a) Extraction of rare earth elements

(b) Natural gas extraction technologies

(c) Hydrogen fuel-based automobiles

(d) Waste-to-energy technologies

What is Biochar?

  • Biochar is a high-carbon, fine-grained residue that is currently produced through modern pyrolysis processes (direct thermal decomposition of biomass in the absence of oxygen and preventing combustion).
  • It produces a mixture of solids (the biochar proper), liquid (bio-oil), and gas (syngas) products.
  • Biochar may increase soil fertility of acidic soils (low pH soils), increase agricultural productivity, and provide protection against some foliar and soil-borne diseases.

Its benefits

  • Carbon Sink: The burning and natural decomposition of biomass releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane to the Earth’s atmosphere. The biochar production process also releases CO2 (up to 50% of the biomass); however the remaining carbon content is stable indefinitely.
  • Soil Amendment: Biochar is recognized as offering a number of soil health benefits. The extremely porous nature of biochar is found to be effective at retaining both water and water-soluble nutrients. Its presence in the earth can improve water quality, increase soil fertility, raise agricultural productivity, and reduce pressure on old-growth forests.
  • Water retention: Biochar is hygroscopic. Thus it is a desirable soil material in many locations due to its ability to attract and retain water.

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Back2Basics

What is Pyrolysis?

  • Pyrolysis is the thermal decomposition of materials at elevated temperatures in an inert atmosphere.
  • It involves a change in chemical composition. The word is coined from the Greek-derived elements pyro “fire” and lysis “separating”.
  • It is most commonly used in the treatment of organic materials. It is one of the processes involved in charring wood.
  • It is considered as the first step in the processes of gasification or combustion.

How does it work?

  • In general, pyrolysis of organic substances produces volatile products and leaves a solid residue enriched in carbon, char.
  • Extreme pyrolysis, which leaves mostly carbon as the residue, is called carbonization.
  • The process is used heavily in the chemical industry, for example, to produce ethylene, many forms of carbon, and other chemicals from petroleum, coal, and even wood, to produce coke from coal.

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Explained:  Participatory Guarantee Scheme

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : PGS

Mains level : Read the attached story


  • The head of India’s food safety regulator has said that she expects the Union Agriculture Ministry’s Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS) to incentivise more farmers to grow organic food.

Participatory Guarantee Scheme

  • PGS is a process of certifying organic products, which ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards.
  • The certification is in the form of a documented logo or a statement.
  • PGS is is an internationally applicable organic quality assurance initiative that  emphasize the participation of stakeholders, including producers and consumers, and operate outside the framework of third-party certification.
  • PGSs are “locally focused quality assurance systems” that “certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange”.
  • PGS, according to the definition, is “a process in which people in similar situations (in this case small holder producers) assess, inspect and verify the production practices of each other and take decisions on organic certification”.

Four pillars of PGS

  • The government’s 2015 PGS manual underlines that the system in India is based on “participatory approach, a shared vision, transparency and trust”.

PARTICIPATION

  • Stakeholders such as producers, consumers, retailers, traders, NGOs, Gram Panchayats, and government organisations and agencies are collectively responsible for designing, operating, and decision-making.
  • Direct communication among the stakeholders helps create an integrity- and trust-based approach with transparency in decision-making, easy access to databases and, where possible, visits to farms b consumers.

SHARED VISION

  • Collective responsibility for implementation and decision making is driven by a common shared vision.
  • Each stakeholder organisation or PGS group can adopt its own vision conforming to the overall vision and standards of the PGS-India programme.

TRANSPARENCY

  • At the grassroots level, transparency is maintained through the active participation of producers in the organic guarantee process.
  • It can include information-sharing at meetings and workshops, peer reviews, and involvement in decision making.

TRUST

  • A fundamental premise of PGS is the idea that producers can be trusted, and that the organic guarantee system can be an expression and verification of this trust.
  • The mechanisms for trustworthiness include a producer pledge made through a witnessed signing of a declaration, and written collective undertakings by the group to abide by the norms, principles and standards of PGS.

Advantages of PGS

Among the advantages of PGS over third-party certification, identified by the government document, are:

  • Procedures are simple, documents are basic, and farmers understand the local language used.
  • All members live close to each other and are known to each other. As practising organic farmers themselves, they understand the processes well.
  • Because peer appraisers live in the same village, they have better access to surveillance; peer appraisal instead of third-party inspections also reduces costs
  • Mutual recognition and support between regional PGS groups ensures better networking for processing and marketing.
  • Unlike the grower group certification system, PGS offers every farmer individual certificates, and the farmer is free to market his own produce independent of the group.

Limitations

  • PGS certification is only for farmers or communities that can organise and perform as a group within a village or a cluster of continuous villages.
  • It is applicable only to farm activities such as crop production, processing, and livestock rearing, and off-farm processing “by PGS farmers of their direct products”.
  • Individual farmers or group of farmers smaller than five members are not covered under PGS.
  • They either have to opt for third party certification or join the existing PGS local group.
  • PGS ensures traceability until the product is in the custody of the PGS group, which makes PGS ideal for local direct sales and direct trade between producers and consumers.

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

[op-ed snap] Let the farmer choose

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ZBNF

Mains level : ZBNF analysis

CONTEXT

Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) has received an endorsement from the NITI Aayog, FM and the PM. 

Challenges with ZBNF

  • India’s premier academy of agricultural scientists came out against this “unproven technology”.
  • They say that it brings no incremental gain to either farmers or consumers. 
  • Since the mid-1960s, India’s annual foodgrain output has risen from 80-85 million tonnes (mt) to 280 mt-plus. It has risen from 20 mt to 176 mt for milk and by similar magnitudes in vegetables, fruits, poultry meat, eggs, sugarcane, and cotton. 
  • A significant part of these increases have come from crossbreeding or improved varieties/hybrids responsive to chemical fertiliser application, and crop protection chemicals to ensure that the resultant genetic yield gains aren’t eaten away by insects, fungi or weeds. 
  • Without IR-8 rice, urea, chlorpyrifos or artificial insemination, the nation would simply not have been able to feed itself.
  • The basic idea of “zero budget” itself rests on very shaky scientific foundations. Agriculture can never be zero budget. 
  • Its propounder claims that nitrogen, the most important nutrient for plant growth, is available “free” from the air. But being in a non-reactive diatomic (N2) state, it has to be first “fixed” into a plant-usable form — which is what ammonia or urea is. 
  • Even maintaining indigenous cows and collecting their dung and urine in microbial, seed treatment and insect pest management solutions — entails labor cost. 
  • Crop yields cannot go up beyond a point with just cow dung that has only around 3% nitrogen (as against 46%t in urea), 2% phosphorous (46% in di-ammonium phosphate) and 1% potassium (60% in muriate of potash).

What should be done

  • Promoting techniques such as conservation tillage, trash mulching, green manuring and vermicomposting.
  • Reducing the use of chemical fertilisers and insecticides through integrated nutrient and pest management. 
  • Eliminating fertiliser subsidies to encourage their judicious use. 
  • Give farmers a fixed sum of money per acre, which they can use to buy chemical-based inputs or to engage the extra labour necessary for organic agricultural practices.

CONCLUSION

Let the farmer choose between non-organic, organic or even ZBNF.

 


Back2Basics

Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)

Organic Farming – Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY), NPOF etc.

Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : ZBNF

Mains level : Utility of ZBNF in doubling farmers income

  • Subhash Palekar, the man behind the idea of ZBNF came in the Union Budget speech of FM where she talked of the need to “go back to basics” and replicate this innovative model that can help in doubling our farmers.

What is Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF)?

  • ZBNF is a set of farming methods, and also a grassroots peasant movement, which has spread to various states in India.
  • According to the “zero budget” concept, farmers won’t have to spend any money on fertilisers and other agricultural inputs.
  • Over 98% of the nutrients that crops require — carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water, solar energy — are already present in nature.
  • The remaining 1.5-2% are taken from the soil, after microorganisms convert them from “non-available” to “available” forms, for intake by the roots.
  • This is where the special package of practices which, Palekar says he perfected during the 1990s at his 36-acre farm in Belura village of Amravati district in Maharashtra’s drought-prone Vidarbha region, comes in.

Four Wheels of ZBNF

  • The “four wheels” of ZBNF are ‘Jiwamrita’, ‘Bijamrita’, ‘Mulching’ and ‘Waaphasa’.
  • Jiwamrita is a fermented mixture of cow dung and urine (of desi breeds), jaggery, pulses flour, water and soil from the farm bund.
  • This isn’t a fertiliser, but just a source of some 500 crore micro-organisms that can convert all the necessary “non-available” nutrients into “available” form.
  • Bijamrita is a mix of desi cow dung and urine, water, bund soil and lime that is used as a seed treatment solution prior to sowing.
  • Mulching, or covering the plants with a layer of dried straw or fallen leaves, is meant to conserve soil moisture and keep the temperature around the roots at 25-32 degrees Celsius, which allows the microorganisms to do their job.
  • Waaphasa, or providing water to maintain the required moisture-air balance, also achieves the same objective.

Astra’s of ZBNF against pest attacks

  • Palekar also advocates the use of special ‘Agniastra’, ‘Bramhastra’ and ‘Neemastra’ concoctions — again based on desi cow urine and dung, plus pulp from leaves of neem, white datura, papaya, guava and pomegranates — for controlling pest and disease attacks.

Is it organic farming?

  • ZBNF uses farmyard manure or vermicompost mostly produced from Eisenia fedita, a species imported from Europe and Canada.
  • These foreign earthworms accumulate heavy metals like lead, arsenic and cadmium, which get transferred into their castings that, far from being manure, are actually toxic to the soil.
  • So, the soil fertility, instead of improving, only reduces”.
  • He says that in ZBNF, the work of making nutrients available to plants is done exclusively by microorganisms from Jiwamrita and “local earthworms”.

However, not all farmers are convinced about ZBNF. Why?

  • The cost of labour for collection of dung and urine, apart from the other inputs used in preparation of Jiwamrita, Neemastra or Bramhastra is quit higher.
  • Keeping cows is also a cost that has to be accounted for. Farmers cannot afford to keep desi cows that yield very little milk.
  • If ZBNF is practiced in isolation, the crop grown would be vulnerable to attacks by insects and pests which may move there from fields where chemical pesticides are being sprayed.
  • Many state governments, including Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka have openly supported ZBNF after studying its efficacy.

The market for organic food in this country is likely to treble in the next four years, according to a report from business chamber Assocham and TechSci Research, a non-government body.

source

  • What is organic farming?
  • Need for organic farming in India
  • Key characteristics of organic farming
  • Steps taken by the Government to promote organic farming in India
  • Key features of PKVY
  • Status of Organic farming in India
  • Why demand for organic products are increasing in recent years?
  • Challenges and constraints faced by Organic farming in India

What is organic farming?

Organic farming system in India is not new and is being followed from ancient time.

It is a method of farming system which primarily aimed at cultivating the land and raising crops in such a way, as to keep the soil alive and in good health by use of organic wastes (crop, animal and farm wastes, aquatic wastes) and other biological materials along with beneficial microbes (biofertilizers) to release nutrients to crops for increased sustainable production in an eco friendly pollution free environment.

Need for organic farming in India

With the increase in population our compulsion would be not only to stabilize agricultural production but to increase it further in sustainable manner.

The scientists have realized that the ‘Green Revolution’ with high input use has reached a plateau and is now sustained with diminishing return of falling dividends.

Thus, a natural balance needs to be maintained at all cost for existence of life and property. The obvious choice for that would be more relevant in the present era, when these agrochemicals which are produced from fossil fuel and are not renewable and are diminishing in availability. It may also cost heavily on our foreign exchange in future.

The key characteristics of organic farming include

  • Protecting the long term fertility of soils by maintaining organic matter levels, encouraging soil biological activity, and careful mechanical intervention
  • Providing crop nutrients indirectly using relatively insoluble nutrient sources which are made available to the plant by the action of soil micro-organisms
  • Nitrogen self-sufficiency through the use of legumes and biological nitrogen fixation, as well as effective recycling of organic materials including crop residues and livestock manures
  • Weed, disease and pest control relying primarily on crop rotations, natural predators, diversity, organic manuring, resistant varieties and limited (preferably minimal) thermal, biological and chemical intervention
  • The extensive management of livestock, paying full regard to their evolutionary adaptations, behavioral needs and animal welfare issues with respect to nutrition, housing, health, breeding and rearing
  • Careful attention to the impact of the farming system on the wider environment and the conservation of wildlife and natural habitats

Steps taken by the Government to promote organic farming in India

Government is promoting Organic farming through various schèmes

  1. National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF)
  2. National Horticulture Mission (NHM)
  3. Horticulture Mission for North East and Himalyan States (HMNEH)
  4. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)
  5. Network Project on Organic Farming of Indian Council Agricultural Research (ICAR).
  6. In addition to this, Government is implementing  a Cluster based programme   to encourage the farmer for promoting organic farming called Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY)

Key features of PKVY

  • Groups of farmers would be motivated to take up organic farming under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY). Fifty or more farmers will form a cluster having 50 acre land to take up the organic farming under the scheme.
  • In this way during three years 10,000 clusters will be formed covering 5.0 lakh acre area under organic farming. There will be no liability on the farmers for expenditure on certification.
  • Every farmer will be provided Rs. 20,000 per acre in three years for seed to harvesting of crops and to transport produce to the market.
  • Organic farming will be promoted by using traditional resources and the organic products will be linked with the market.
  • It will increase domestic production and certification of organic produce by involving farmers

Status of Organic farming in India

source

  • The current market (pulses and foodgrain the bulk) of organic food is at $500 million (about Rs 3,350 crore). It was $360 million (Rs 2,400 crore) in 2014.
  • Although nascent, the Indian organic food market has begun growing rapidly in last few years. A report by Yes Bank in 2014 said that the organic food sector is growing at about 20% in India, with more than 100 retail organic outlets in Mumbai and about 60 in Bangalore.
  • Total area under organic certification in India in 2013-14 is estimated to be 4.72 million ha with 15 per cent are certified and the rest under forest area. India has the highest number of organic producers in the world (5,97,873), mainly due to small holdings.
  • During 2013-14, India exported 135 products, realisation from which was to the tune of $403, million including $183 million contributed by exports of organic textile. Major destinations for organic products from India are the US, EU, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asian countries, West Asia, South Africa, etc.
  • Soyabean (70 per cent) lead among the products exported followed by cereals and millets other than basmati (six per cent), processed food products (five per cent), basmati rice (four per cent), sugar (three per cent), tea (two per cent), pulses and lentils (one per cent), dry fruits (one per cent), spices (one per cent).

Why is the demand for organic products increasing in recent years

source

Challenges and constraints faced by Organic farming in India

  • The most important issue facing organic farming is its failure to raise the productivity to keep pace with the growing population. Studies, according to a latest report in The Wall Street Journal, have shown that organic yields are far less than yields of conventional farming. As per the 2011 survey data of National Agricultural Statistics Service, a branch of the US organic farming would require 14.5 million acres more to equal conventional farming’s production of 14 staple (human-focused food crops).
  • There is a wide gap in scientific validation and research compared to the progress in the same for general agriculture. Also, there is a need to aid farmers with advisory services (technical and managerial support to form cluster and adopt best management practices).
  • Due to lack of government support, the courage needed to convert inorganic land into organic land is missing also there is  absence of globally recognized consultancy for timely guidance to farmers. Thus, huge support from states and the Centre is required.
  • Key problems faced by organic farmers during the transition phase are non-realisation of premium.

References:

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